The science fiction community has been speculating the concepts of duplication and cloning for decades. 3D printer systems that literally prints organ transplants will be yet another “formerly fiction turned reality” concept that will create a buzz in discussion and responses relating to post-humanism.
One of the posthumanism novels that comes to my mind is Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Spoiler alert for those who have not read her novel. The titular Jenna Fox makes a recovery from a serious life-threatening accident. She finds out that only 10% of her brain was recovered from the crash, and the rest of her body is cloned with a blue artificial neural-nanobot based “biogel”. She also finds out that her biological information has been transposed into technological data in the form of a black box – so that she could be reconstructed over and over again beyond her control. Jenna was not reconstructed by a 3D printer that relies on the seeded cells from her, but the novel’s example of self-realization as consisting of transplants is definitely close enough to be used as an allegory.
I am worried about 3D printers being used unethically to illegally download, say, the said template and “scaffolding” of artificially made kidneys, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of my concerns. I am not a fervent reader or writer of science fiction and posthumanism, but I can say I am more worried about potential ethical issues regarding artificial transplants being made en masse. Sure, there are definitely merits in terms of replacing an injured heart valve and kidney transplants, but…what does that say about your security with your own body, and ultimately self-determination of your life? Taken to the dystopian extreme, people could be cloned and reconstructed over and over again, because Soylent Green is made of people.
“Article Response – Re: Vancouver Metro’s Organ Transplants Article” is published on June 19, 2013, which is part of my muses. Read more about Vincent Wong’s work at https://vincentwongwanders.wordpress.com .